The Ultimate Guide to Business Philanthropy and Maximising Your Impacts
Every business on our planet was started for a particular reason: the owner saw an opportunity to do something they loved; they saw an opportunity to make money; they saw a problem that needed solving.
Today, more and more entrepreneurs and business owners are realising something else too: businesses can make a positive impact on our world as well. And when businesses add meaning and purpose to what they do, it makes a massive difference to that business in so many ways.
Trouble is, until now it’s not been easy to figure out how to do that, particularly when you’re running a business with other important priorities.
But now, that’s all changed.
ABOUT YOUR IMPACT GUIDE
We’re going to look at three important things together here:
CLARIFYING YOUR PURPOSE
Understanding what you want to achieve from your business philanthropy
SIMPLIFYING YOUR APPROACH
Making your business giving easy so you
can start immediately
Seeing how effective giving can positively
impact lives of people (and the world)
You’ll also learn more about the B1G1 Business for Good initiative as well as some other ways to contribute effectively as a business. We hope you’ll enjoy reading this guide and see how your business can become a real force for good in the world.
CLARIFYING YOUR PURPOSE
Here we show you the key outcomes that people in business typically want to achieve from business philanthropy so that you get ‘benchmark’ ideas.
4 THINGS YOU CAN ACHIEVE WITH BUSINESS PHILANTHORPY
When you embed a spirit of giving in your business, you no longer become just another business in the sea of sameness simply chasing customers and profits.
2. MAKING A REAL DIFFERENCE
Imagine making a real difference every day by doing what you normally do. Changing lives positively can become an inspiring and exciting part of your journey.
3. TEAM ENGAGEMENT
Today, people are seeking greater meaning. When you have effective giving at the core of your company culture, you attract generous, talented and purposeful people to your business. You achieve great things together.
4. CONNECTING EVEN MORE
Truly effective giving allows you to deepen the connection you feel to the business, the connection your team has AND the connection with your customers, your community and our world in new ways.
DOING GOOD IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS.
If we can achieve ALL of these things (differentiation, team engagement, customer connection and making a real difference), then it seems that business philanthropy is to a great thing for every business to do. And if every business works towards making the world a great place, it really will change the world.
The reality is that CURRENTLY less than 5% of giving comes from businesses.*
So, we’ve asked business owners around the world what prevents them from implementing business philanthropy.
Read on to find out what the challenges are and how you can overcome them.
SIMPLIFYING YOUR APPROACH
If business giving was effective and easy to do, so many more businesses can start creating a positive impact.
So we asked hundreds of business people
WHAT MAKES PHILANTHROPY CHALLENGING FOR YOU?
UNSURE HOW TO START
Donating money once-off or going to a charity ball may not feel particularly purposeful. People wonder how a business can do something that actually makes a real difference. But figuring out where to begin can be challenging.
You can simplify it by
GIVING FROM HEART (& HEAD)
When giving comes from the heart, it has that extra ‘something’. So it can be a good idea to support causes you care about. Try finding ones that are transparent about how your contribution is used for creating a specific impact (as opposed to simply giving random amounts). It’s important too to give in ways to help solve the root causes of endemic issues.
LACK OF TIME
Running a business is demanding. At least half of entrepreneurs with good intentions do not take philanthropic actions simply because they perceive they don’t have the time to make it Happen.
You can simplify it by
WORK WITH CHARITY PORTALS
Charity portals are set up to do the heavy work for you (checking progress of charity projects, ensure project integrity). You will definitely need to spend some time initially to do find the perfect charity portal partner, but once you’ve found one, you’ll save tons of time later.
Many business owners, whether start-ups or established businesses, perceive giving is about large ‘donations’. They see that they may lack the funds to make that meaningful impact.
You can simplify it by
STARTING SMALL AND GROW
Making a small impact now is so much more powerful than trying to do big things in the distant future (which may not happen the way you envisage). When you start small, you can do it today and you can do even more as your business grows.
LACK OF TRUST
Many people don’t feel fully confident about the effectiveness of charitable giving. And even if they have limited confidence, they don’t have time to delve deeper to create the necessary trust.
You can simplify it by
USING A TRUSTED SOURCE
Unless you have a favourite charity that you want to stick with, using a third-party listing that has transparent, well documented and well-developed selection criteria makes it easy for you.
Business giving has the power to transform lives: not just the lives of the beneficiaries, but yours as well as the lives of your employees AND of course, your customers too.
And ultimately, that transforms our world.
IMPORTANT THINGS YOU WANT TO CONSIDER SO YOUR GIVING DOES TRANSFORM LIVES
Choosing a cause you personally care about makes your giving even more meaningful to you. Choosing projects your customers care about takes the impact of your giving to another level as well.
With various forms of giving, there can be hidden costs you are not aware of. Full transparency is another important element for maximising your giving impact.
Often you might not know what your giving really achieves. Having a clear understanding of the impact you help create is a great first step.
It’s important to ensure that your giving creates a long-term positive impact. Giving reactively through guilt can cause negative side effects and on-going dependency.
SOME TYPICAL APPROACHES TO BUSINESS GIVING
If you want to give directly to just one charity you are passionate about, find one that’s totally transparent about how your contribution is used to create a specific impact. Charity:water is one example.
VOLUNTEERING AND EMPLOYEE GIVING
There are some initiatives that focus principally on the role of the employee in giving time (e.g. Vollie) and money (e.g. Benevity for large companies). If your highest priority is to get your team involved in giving activities, using these professional services can help you get started.
Imagine being able to say,
Something great happens in the world today just as a result of what your business normally does.
makes that possible for you.
B1G1 (BUY1GIVE1) is the global giving initiative that helps small-to- medium sized businesses ‘embed’ giving at the heart of what they do every day.
Currently, the B1G1 Movement has 2,400 Business Members as part of the initiative. Together those businesses have collectively created over 190 million giving impacts across 500+ high-impact projects.
With B1G1, you can create tangible impacts from just one cent, you can track these impacts in realtime around the world and you can effectively engage your team and customers in your giving mission.
With B1G1’s unique membership model, fully 100% of your giving goes to the projects you support.
WHY EMBEDDING GIVING IS IMPACTFUL
to you, to your business abd to the world
YOU PUT GIVING RIGHT AT THE HEART OF YOUR BUSINESS
By putting giving at the very core of your business, you bring back the meaning to the work you and your team do every day. Simply knowing that lives are being transformed every day shifts the spirit of your business and changes the way your team works. Now everyone has a reason to do great things every day.
YOU TRANSFORM LIVES THROUGH THE POWER OF SMALL
Let’s imagine you decide that (for example) for every customer you create, a child gets access to life-saving water (and it’s only 1 cent to make that happen). Now imagine you have 50 customers per day, that’s 50 children getting access to life-saving water. And imagine just 10 businesses doing the same thing, that’s 500 children being saved every day. That’s what B1G1 calls ‘the power of small’ in action.
YOU BECOME PART OF A MOVEMENT THAT’S CHANGING OUR WORLD
Philanthropy in the world is growing. But most of it still comes from individuals and foundations. Yet our economy today is driven by businesses, especially small-to-medium sized ones.
Imagine if every business in the world gave effectively in their own unique ways. This way, every problem in the world can be solved gradually, creating a new eco-system of giving.
Being part of B1G1 means you are part of the movement where businesses are coming together to change our world.
B1G1 AND THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
B1G1 ties every giving and impact created to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
These 17 goals represent the global community’s next step in ending poverty, fighting inequality and injustice, and tackling climate change by 2030.
As Paul Polman, the former CEO of Unilever eloquently puts it:
“If every business would see how they can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, they will have a true purpose and reason for being.”
See how your business can become part of this movement.
– From High-Impact Causes and Businesses we work with
Beneficiary of Phare Ponleu Selpak
Samnang joined Phare Circus at the age of 14 and has been training to be a performer ever since. He used to be a rice farmer, but now at the age of 29, Samnang is a renowned circus performer who travels around the world to perform. He has been to France, Australia, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Switzerland, Singapore and many other countries.
Phare Circus is part of Phare Ponleu Selpak, a school in Cambodia that helps youth like Samnang to achieve their dreams.
JOHN FAWCETT FOUNDATION
Organisation that Brings Sight to One Million Balinese
One single US dollar for a pair of eyeglasses.
That’s all it costs to help a Balinese man or woman see again. And once their vision becomes clear, these people can be more productive at work and for their families.
That’s the idea behind John Fawcett Foundation’s mobile eye care clinic. JFF’s team brings glasses, and doctors to perform exams and cataract surgeries, to impoverished communities all over the island.
Shift the Spirit of Business through Giving
Miren Oca and the team at Ocaquatics Swim School in Miami, Florida, are classic examples of what happens when giving becomes embedded into what you do as opposed to just being ‘added’ on.
Ocaquatics celebrates team members’ birthdays by giving an amount equal to the age they are turning to causes of their choice – and there are so many they can choose from within B1G1. So if someone is turning 26, they’ll give $26, and that could go to make many great things happen across as many selected projects as they wish.
This creates a greater sense of connection for the team members because now they can choose to give to causes that are close to their hearts. And when that happens, everyone becomes more engaged in the spirit of giving, and it permeates into everything they do.
In fact, the moment you step into Ocaquatics, you can feel the team’s energy, joy, and love as they perform their everyday activities. They’re so inspired in their work that it’s infectious.
Growing a business is never an easy journey, but when you enjoy what you do and where you go to work, that journey becomes a wonderful one.
A Greater Sense of Purpose in Fashion
Fashion store KOBOMO in Australia has been part of B1G1 for the last 6 years. Starting from a tiny market stall, today KOBOMO is a thriving online fashion store shipping items globally. The secret of KOBOMO’s growth is the sense of purpose ingrained in the spirit of its brand.
For every item they sell, KOBOMO provides a day of tuition class to a disadvantaged girl in Cambodia or a meal to a child in need through B1G1.
Karen Ormerod – CEO of KOBOMO shared with us how embedding giving into what they do every day transforms the relationship they have with their customers.
“We had a really connected moment today. A new customer (late 50’s and very stylish) came in and bought 5 new garments for an upcoming conference in New Zealand. I gave her a small ‘gift with purchase’ and said we also thank our customers for each item they purchase by providing a meal for a child in need.
She was amazed and after walking out of the shop. She came rushing back in and gave me a huge hug. “Love it!”
For Karen and her team, business is not about just making more money. It’s about making a real difference in our world too.
GET YOUR FREE CUSTOMISED GIVING PLAN
This tailored-to-you plan gives you specific and actionable ideas for making great impacts around the world. You can also receive a free 20-minute one-to-one walkthrough of your Giving Plan.